Bubo scandiacus

(formerly Nyctea scandiaca)

The Snowy Owl spends the winter months inhabiting the marshes, fields and prairies of Canada, including Southern Ontario, however, they return to the Arctic to breed each spring.

This is one of the heaviest Owls found in North America, as females can weigh up to 5 lbs and males up to 3 lbs. These owls often have a wingspan measuring over 4 ft, and stand at 22" to 27" tall.

Males are often pure white, although females tend to be slightly darker than the males and their plumage may be white barred with brown and in the picture above, you can see a typical male Snowy.

There is a layer of down on the bird which is covered with thick feathers, which insulates the whole body - even the powerful feet and legs are feathered so that only the curved strong claws are visible!

The Snowy Owl lacks the feathery tufts which characterize many species of Owls, and only has slight evidence of them.

The beak is black and is perfectly designed to capture and eat the small mammals which are this birds main food - each bird consumes around 8 - 10 small rodents daily!

They typically hunt from high points such as utility poles or tall trees where they can observe potential prey as they scan the area watching for mice and lemmings - they even keep a wary eye for other owls which they will chase away from their territory.

Although quiet while hunting, these Owls are known to scream and hiss at intruders who are coming into their territory, and have been observed diving at humans who approach their nests.

These birds, unlike other owls, are not exclusively nocturnal, and also hunt during the day - perhaps this could be an adaptation because of the long hours of daylight during the Arctic summer?

These birds do not breed in Southern Ontario, as they return to their northern breeding grounds in Spring, where they nest on the high tundra, using any tall points of land for their nests.

We hope you enjoy this short video, courtesy of YouTube and National Geographic.

Have you had a Snowy Owl encounter you'd like to tell us about?

If you've had a Snowy Owl sighting in Southern Ontario, we'd love to hear from you ... send us your pictures too!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Snowy Owl in Hamilton along Lakefront trail 
My sister and I were walking the waterfront trail in Hamilton on November 24, 2017 and spotted this beauty. She sat in the same spot for at least an …

Snowy Owl 
Driving home from work I stopped to get a picture of a hawk. After it flew away I spotted this Snowy Owl two hydro poles further up the road. It …

Snowy Owl likes to shop at the new Costco in Grimsby Not rated yet
Though I shot these a few weeks ago, he was back there last night - March 9th 2018 around 18 18:30. There is still a lot of open field around the new …

Snowy Owl at Dr Davey School Not rated yet
As we started our school day, we heard many students amazed at seeing a male Snowy Owl on our school roof. Of course we needed to take pictures and …

Snowy Owls in Alliston Not rated yet
Any winter morning you can find Snowy Owls in New Tecumseth if you know where to look ... The 11th Line between Tottenham Road (County Rd …

Snowy Owl on Fifty Road Not rated yet
I saw a Snowy Owl, all white, on top of an L.E.D. street light pole, which I actually put up and installed. It was just sitting up there over the bridge …

Trent River Owl Not rated yet
I live in the village of Hastings, just about 1/2 hour east of Peterborough, Ontario. My property is on the Trent River just west of the village. …

Snowy Owl male sighted at Lake Muskoka Not rated yet
Videoed Friday April 14 2017, around 3 pm at Lake Muskoka, Ontario.

3 Snowy's in a row! Not rated yet
I had my first sighting of a Snowy Owl March 5, 2017 and it was very impressive. It made my day. I was driving on Highway 86 just south of the …

Click here to write your own.

The Boreal Forest - the Snowy Owl
Information about these interesting birds in a clear concise manner

Wikipedia - the Snowy Owl
Everything you ever wanted to know about this fascinating bird, information about their distribution and habitat

Pictures on this page courtesy of Dreamstime and
© Eric Gevaert |
© Alexey Arkhipov |

If you enjoy this website, please consider making a donation to help us continue with this site!

Thank you!

Discover Southern

Site Build It!

Site Build It!